The mysterious yawning of humans and animals continues to intrigue science. We've all wondered why we yawn.
This involuntary urge to open the mouth and breathe deeply may be accompanied by bodily gestures such as stretching or making a sound. So why do human beings yawn?
Symptom of fatigue
Yawning is often associated with fatigue, sleep deprivation or drowsiness. It is assumed that the body is trying to stay awake and alert in the face of extreme exhaustion. However, there are other reasons why we feel the need to yawn.
Did you know that yawning is contagious? In fact, when you see someone yawn, you often immediately feel the irrepressible desire to imitate them. This action can therefore be considered an act of social communication. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of empathy are more likely to yawn. It would seem, then, that there is a link between yawning and empathy.
Researchers at Princeton University have discovered another possible reason for yawning. According to them, yawning helps regulate brain temperature by dilating and contracting the walls of the maxillary sinus. By pumping blood to the brain, yawning cools the blood circulating in this part of the body. This thermoregulatory capacity could explain why we need to yawn.
Another hypothesis suggests that yawning increases oxygen intake, which could improve alertness. However, further research is needed to determine whether this increase in oxygenation has a real impact on our state of alertness.
Do only humans yawn?
Yawning is not exclusive to humans. Some animal species also yawn, but for different reasons. In penguins, for example, yawning is a mating ritual. In lions, yawning is used to demonstrate dominance and mark out territory. In dogs, yawning helps regulate body temperature. Clearly, yawning fulfils similar functions in different species, but there's still much to discover about this enigmatic gesture.
Although yawning is a common phenomenon, science is still searching for precise answers. Despite the many theories put forward, this behavior remains largely unknown. Perhaps in the future, scientific advances will enable us to unravel the mysteries of yawning, but for now, we can simply take comfort in the fact that we're not alone in yawning.
My name is Maggie and I'm a writer for thesilverink.com, a website dedicated to news, culture and lifestyle. I have always been passionate about writing and I decided to make it my profession by becoming a web editor. I work on counterpoint.info and I mainly take care of the lifestyle section. I like to share my discoveries and my favorites with the readers, whether it's about fashion, beauty, decoration or gastronomy.